A Hawaii-based company has claimed an energy harvesting breakthrough with a device which it says can convert radio frequency (RF) signals into electricity.

Infrgy says its prototype device is able to supplement energy used to transmit RF signals and amplifies it with electromagnetic energy harnessed from the environment, to produce more output than was supplied at input.

This amplified energy output has been tested and documented by the University of Kashmir’s Institute of Technology in India, the company said this week. The resulting energy output can be used in a combination of wired and wireless devices.

Infrgy says its device transmits an ultra-high frequency RF signal, which is converted into DC electricity. Simultaneously it captures electromagnetic energy in the environment and converts it to DC current. The combined current can then be used as DC or further converted into AC current.

And though the company admits the smart circuit is relatively small, it says the prototype performs multiple functions at the same time. It has submitted the machine for more testing at what it describes as “high technology institutions” in India.

Few details of Infrgy are available in the public domain. The company’s website lists Parvez Rishi, an experienced IT executive, as founder, while John Waihee, who served as governor of Hawaii from 1986-1994, is said to be an advisor to the business.

Rishi said: “Although we have documented and verified our claims at the Institute of Technology, we understand that there will be skepticism about the ability to harvest enough ambient energy for output to exceed input.

“However, ambient energy is already being harvested from sources like the sun, wind, and water.”

He added: “We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our technology to all interested parties, and look forward to further development with industry and academic partners.”

Growing demand for power around the world, driven in part by the rapid development of hyperscale data centers, and the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy, has led to power companies looking for innovative solutions to meet the needs of the grid.

However, many of the most promising clean energy solutions, such as nuclear fusion, have yet to come to fruition.

Several research projects have previously looked at the potential of converting radio waves into electricity, with mixed success. In 2022, scientists at the University of South Florida said they had developed an antenna that could turn radio waves into energy to power Internet of Things devices such as sensors placed at the Edge. It was hoped that this could reduce the amount of batteries used in Edge devices.

It is unclear whether Infrgy intends its device to be used in this way, or whether it has bigger plans. Rishi added: “Our goal is to introduce Infrgy's technology, which incorporates both renewable and wireless energy. The potential is limitless.”